Inclusion > special

Hello DSISD special education,

I’m an autistic hacker and writer. My neurodivergent kids are in DSISD. You may have seen me on Twitter talking about the social model in the #IamDSISD hashtag. Today I did a big update on my neurodiversity and social model primer. If you’ve seen it before, check it out again.

Education, Neurodiversity, the Social Model of Disability, and Real Life

Education is dominated by the deficit and medical models. There is little vision beyond them. The swelling neurodiversity and disability movements are changing our framing from the deficit and medical models to that of inclusion and the social model. There is a new narrative on cognition and ability, one that needs to be heard and understood in DSISD. Inclusion is the new normalInclusion is the way to our boldly better future. Diversity is a fact of the modern world.

We can better understand students and check our ableism by connecting with neurodivergent communities online. Get on Twitter. Twitter is where the perspectives and intersections are. Disability and neurodiversity are the most intersectional identities. Special education teachers must be in the digital commons improving their heuristics and getting in touch with the modern neurodiversity and disability movements. Seek, for example, the #ActuallyAutistic perspective. These self advocates are the real experts on autism.

There are five books I wish every educator, therapist, doctor, and coach with relationships with my kids would read. Autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia are amongst the diverse operating systems in our family. Also in our family are scientists, mathematicians, engineers, writers, business developers, and technologists. Our neurodivergence is an asset, if we can endure our ableist systems and culture of compliance.

That’s a tall order of reading, of course, which is why I made the primer. Read the primer, follow its many links, and check out which books of these you can.

I write often on education, neurodiversity, and disability. Here are some of my recent pieces.

I also post weekly-ish updates on topics I’ve discussed in the DSISD commons and in chats with DSISD educators and parents.


Ryan Boren

DSISD Growth Mindset

DSISD growth mindset messaging sounds much like the same old deficit, grit, bootstrap narrative. It seems unaware of the last couple years of growth mindset, structural ideology, and restorative practices discussion. The Twitter messaging is the same word image amplification seen at other districts coming late to the growth mindset fad. Those coming late don’t seem to have picked up the lessons of the early adopters. Carol Dweck explains some of those lessons in her Revisit. I see some of the problems she mentions in the DSES messaging.

Here’s my primer on structural ideology. It’s where we’re going with the Design for Real Life and Universal Design efforts. Structural problems must be acknowledged in order to design for and educate humanity in its diversity. We’re bringing the social model into design, work, and our real lives. Progressive educators championing universal design for learning, inclusion, restorative practices, and 1:1 tech are doing the same for education.

Neurodiversity is the social model for minds. Let’s unite behind neurodiversity and the social model of disability. Let’s acknowledge our unique operating systems, our unique bodies, and our unique abilities. From compliance culture and the deficit model we must escape. We can do so through continuous learning and iteration. Seek perspective in the intersections.

Free, life-changing, and available to everyone. Everyone. That is the promise of public education. Design education for real life.

DSES Website

At the bottom of the This Week at DSE emails from DSES is this footer.

This is a reminder that DSES needs a website. AFAICT, This Week at DSE is delivered only via email. This misses a lot of people. All of the This Week at DSE emails should be on a website so that school messaging is transparent and accessible. With these posts published to the web, they can be auto publicized to social media, consumed by feed readers, and digested and newslettered however the user sees fit. The district website offers some space to DSES, but the district website is inaccessible cronyware that doesn’t afford DSES a blog, usable syndication feeds, or many of the amenities of a modern content management system.

I happen to know a bunch of open source geeks who like to give software, hosting, and labor away to good causes. Let’s bring “communication is oxygen” to DSISD one site at a time, starting with DSES. With WordPress (disclaimer, I work on WP for a living), sites can get a free and easy start on and later migrate to a self-hosted environment should the district graduate into student IT running a multisite WordPress instance integrated with district systems. Open technology that offers syndication feeds, content export, public apis, and open source community will grow with your school and district as we iterate toward project-based learning and collaboration in the commons.

To build a project-based learning culture compatible with work, prioritize communication. Tool for communication, collaboration, iteration, and launch. Bring students, teachers, and tech workers together to do_action education.

Security Theater, Threshold Flow, and Inclusion

Beginning in January 2017, DSE will put into place a new dismissal procedure. The purpose of this procedure is to monitor that our students are released appropriately and safely.  Due to safety concerns of the number of adults that walk up to collect children at dismissal, DSE is implementing a new procedure beginning January 3, 2017.

 Children may be picked up at the south end of campus (the last classroom in the south end of campus/kinder wing), which is called “The Tiger Lair”.  If you would like to walk up to collect your child, you will indicate Tiger Lair  with your homeroom teacher.  You will wait for your child outside the door .  A staff member will be there to greet you.  School personnel will take your name/identification and call for your child who is waiting in room 14.  Your child will come meet you.  Please use the crosswalk when arriving/departing the Tiger Lair.  It is essential that parents bring their ID.

“Due to safety concerns of the number of adults that walk up to collect children at dismissal.”

What safety concerns? Are adults assumed predators? Instead of sitting in line in our cars, some parents choose to walk up to the front of the school where our kids congregate, chat, and wait for the signal for parents to pick them up. Parents also congregate and chat while waiting. Parents and kids chatting out under the sun seems like a healthy thing, a thing resembling community. We parents are supposed to bring colored signs when picking up our kids, but many don’t bother. A piece of construction paper is not receipt for a soul. Out in the sun where we all know each other, we don’t need brightly colored slips of fear.

Now, instead of being outside, kids will be sequestered in a room and parents will be carded. This is security theater. I avoid places that make me show ID. Fear ratcheting drives away contribution and collaboration. Security theater harms accessibility & inclusion. FUD makes for bad threshold flow.

Stop investing in fear, and start resisting it. Instead of pursuing an education on privacy, passwords, and online identity, our PTA invites the FBI to scare people with predators. Instead of welcoming parents to school, we card them and treat them like they’re at the DMV. Even when we show up regularly and everyone knows our name, we parents are carded. This is not an environment for contribution and collaboration. This is not community. Threshold flow matters. Our schools are locked down, and contribution and community are locked out.

The outdoor pick up now requires an ID. If you forget your ID, a murky voucher process is triggered. I stood in the rain with my kid one day waiting for someone to engage their humanity as people who know me and my son pretended they didn’t. Up the chain the voucher escalated until someone with sufficient power attested to me being me. What of others who aren’t known as well as I?

I no longer pick up my kids from school. I have no desire to enter DSES at all. The DSES threshold flow says to me, “Go away. Not welcome. Not trusted. Presumed harmful.” How did this latest bit of theater come to be? The communications I’ve read offer no reason. Questions…

  • Is this policy public and online?
  • What forms of ID are accepted?
  • Can the ID be expired?
  • What is the voucher flow?
  • Did a particular incident contribute to the policy?
  • Would the policy have prevented that incident?
  • Was any study of unintended consequences and affect on contribution done?
  • What statistics support this reaction?

Blanket security theater of this type does little to help the most common abduction situation–a custody battle. In those cases, direct communication between the custodial parent and educators is what works. There is no need to treat all parents like potential criminals.

Stop being so afraid.

The AMBER Alert system was designed to recover endangered missing children through the solicitation of citizen assistance via swift public announcements. Rigorous empirical support for AMBER Alert’s effectiveness has been lacking, but since its inception program advocates and public safety officials have lauded the system’s ability to “save lives”, often basing their optimism on AMBER Alert “success” stories. However, in this paper quantitative and qualitative analyses of 333 publicized and celebrated AMBER Alert “successes” suggest AMBER Alerts rarely result in the retrieval of abducted children from clearly “life-threatening” situations, and that most of the publicized successes involved relatively benign abductors and unthreatening circumstances. The routine conflation of such apparently mundane cases with rare dramatic successes by AMBER Alert advocates suggests popular portrayals of AMBER Alert are overly sanguine. The potentially negative effects of this and policy implications are discussed.

Source: An empirical examination of AMBER Alert ‘successes’

These are encouraging statistics — but also deeply misleading, according to some of the only outside scholars to examine the system in depth. In the first independent study of whether Amber Alerts work, a team led by University of Nevada criminologist Timothy Griffin looked at hundreds of abduction cases between 2003 and 2006 and found that Amber Alerts — for all their urgency and drama — actually accomplish little. In most cases where they were issued, Griffin found, Amber Alerts played no role in the eventual return of abducted children. Their successes were generally in child custody fights that didn’t pose a risk to the child. And in those rare instances where kidnappers did intend to rape or kill the child, Amber Alerts usually failed to save lives.

Source: Amber Alerts As Security Theater – Schneier on Security

Intense interest in disturbing child abductions by the mass media, public safety organizations, and the public has helped sustain a socially constructed mythology and sporadic “moral panic” about the presumed pervasiveness of this threat to children. The result has often been reactionary “memorial” legislation enacted in response to sensational cases. A recent example is the America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) Alert system, which is designed to interrupt serious child kidnappings in progress by soliciting citizen tips to help officials quickly rescue victims. Drawing on available empirical evidence and theoretical considerations, the authors contend that AMBER Alert has not achieved and probably cannot achieve the ambitious goals that inspired its creation. In fact, AMBER Alert is arguably an example of what could be called crime control theater. It is a socially constructed “solution” to a socially constructed problem, enabling public officials to symbolically address an essentially intractable threat. Despite laudable intentions, AMBER Alert exemplifies how crime control theater can create unintended problems, such as public backlash when the theatrical policy fails and a distorted public discourse about the nature of crime. Considerations for the future of AMBER Alert in particular, and the concept of crime control theater in general, are discussed.

Source: Child Abduction, AMBER Alert, and Crime Control Theater

If the Amber Alert were an isolated instance, its low-cost might justify a program that creates “the appearance, but not the fact, of crime control.” But Amber Alerts are symptomatic of a broader trend in this area – focusing harsh laws and public attention on rare, isolated cases of stranger rape when most child molestation and child abductions involve family members or people the kid knows and trusts.

By focusing so much attention on protecting kids from a threat that’s rare and failing to educate the public on more common threats to kids, IMO the pols looking to grandstand as “tuff” on child molesters end up harming security. That was certainly the case last year when Texas ramped up penalties for child molesters so high that victim rights advocates fear families won’t report child abuse – the focus on strangers instead of more common threats made kids less safe in that instance.

Security theater is important and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand because people want and need to feel safe. But this particular brand of security theater makes people feel less safe than they really are by hyping threats the public will rarely face.

Source: Amber Alerts and ‘Security Theater’

DSISD Commons #2

A weekly-ish collection of topics discussed in the DSISD digital commons.

On ADHD Nation, the neurodivergent classroom experience, and thriving in curiosity-driven, self-directed environments

This was a nice little intersectional Twitter moment.

Kids who are “ADHD” in school may thrive in curiosity-driven, self-directed environments. And the more you back off the, better.


Add ADHD Nation to your neurodiversity library.

Inclusion is the new normal

Diversity is a fact of the modern world. Inclusion is the new normal.

Fear is not compatible

The Open Schoolhouse

Charlie Reisinger’s new book, The Open Schoolhouse, is out.

Free and open source software is everywhere. It powers the Internet, your phone, and billions of everyday gadgets. And the open source design philosophy promotes collaboration, sharing, and transparency to drive innovation.

That sounds marvelous for software developers, but do open source principles work in the classroom? Can schools build successful technology programs on open source software? When students are engaged co-creators and trusted apprentices, does a new school community emerge?

I answer these questions in my new book, The Open Schoolhouse. My team built robust and low-cost educational technology services on free and open platforms. We saved taxpayers more than a million dollars. However, the budget is only part of the story. As our schools embraced open source values, students became empowered to build an amazing learning community.

Source: The Open Schoolhouse – Building a technology program to transform learning and empower students

“Which side of the command line should our kids be on?”

Equity and Access: Making as Social Justice

Build a culture that enables cafeteria treehouses.

Growth Mindset and Structural Ideology

Lockdowns and SRP

What SRP does DSISD use?

The “I Love U Guys” SRP

Inclusion is the new normal

Update: A new version of this post is available on my main blog.

In my professional tribes, we hew to these codes of conduct.

We are committed to making participation in this project a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of level of experience, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, personal appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, age, religion, or nationality.

Source: Contributor Covenants & Codes of Conduct

Inclusion is the new normal.

LGBTQ folks are well represented at my company, Automattic. We hold events for our 500 person company all over the world–but not at venues that discriminate against our own.

Schools with transphobic bathroom policies break the codes of collaboration. They don’t meet the standards for hosting WordCamps, WordPress Meetups, or Automattic sponsored events. They eliminate themselves from hosting meetups for many open source communities, something schools should be doing more of, not less. Phobic policies distance public education from the creative commons and the engines of modernity.

Automattic and the industries we inhabit reject the transphobic values @txvalues and many Texas politicians champion in Texas schools. They are incompatible with our collaborative cultures. The future of work is diversity and inclusion.

Howdy! We are an international company with employees who come from a wide variety of backgrounds. We believe that the more perspectives we embrace, the better we are at engaging our global community of users and developers. We want to build Automattic as an environment where people love their work and show respect and empathy to those with whom we interact.

Diversity typically includes, but is not limited to, differences in race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, political and religious affiliation, socioeconomic background, cultural background, geographic location, physical disabilities and abilities, relationship status, veteran status, and age. To work on diversity means that we welcome these differences, and strive to increase the visibility of traditionally underrepresented groups. We see inclusion as the ongoing, conscious effort to celebrate difference and welcome people of differing backgrounds and life experiences, whether they’re current or prospective employees, partners, or users of our software.

In 2014 we started to work, as a company, on facilitating spaces for discussions about diversity at Automattic. And at the 2016 annual gathering of all of our employees from over 50 countries, we decided to share with the rest of the world what we are doing about diversity and inclusion here. Because we want you to think about working with us.

Source: Diversity and Inclusion —  Automattic

More diverse companies, we believe, are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns. This in turn suggests that other kinds of diversity—for example, in age, sexual orientation, and experience (such as a global mind-set and cultural fluency)—are also likely to bring some level of competitive advantage for companies that can attract and retain such diverse talent.

  • Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • Companies in the bottom quartile both for gender and for ethnicity and race are statistically less likely to achieve above-average financial returns than the average companies in the data set (that is, bottom-quartile companies are lagging rather than merely not leading).
  • In the United States, there is a linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance: for every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise 0.8 percent.

Source: Why diversity matters | McKinsey & Company

Simply put, diversity increases the likelihood of a tech company’s survival.

Source: Biased by Design

The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business. This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development.

Source: Silicon Valley CEOs Sign Letter Against North Carolina Transgender Law « CBS San Francisco

The results are in. They’ve been in for so long, so consistently, that they’ve become old news: diverse teams outperform. Across industries and organization sizes, teams with more gender and racial diversity return stronger results to investors, retain top performers longer, and make better decisions. It’s not even a close call.

Unconscious bias isn’t a bleeding-heart liberal codeword, it’s a real threat to your business and your ability to find top talent.

Source: Your Diversity Problem isn’t the Pipeline’s Fault

Open Source, at its fundamental levels, is all about inclusion—it’s about always asking the question, “Who am I excluding?” or “Who have I excluded, and need to go back and include.” And then setting forth to make things right by thinking, and acting, as inclusively as possible.

Source: John Maeda: Enlisting With The Next Generation |

As American entrepreneurs and business leaders, we believe that the historical commitment to civil liberties as set forth in the United States Constitution is a unique advantage for U.S. businesses — one that is inextricably linked with our global competitiveness and success. Any threat to fundamental civil liberties is bad for American business. It is incumbent on us as entrepreneurs, leaders, and patriotic Americans to speak up. We believe that the rights and liberties enshrined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights are under threat and need to be safeguarded.

In Tech, we have an environment that celebrates the open exchange of ideas without regard to an individual’s background, religious practice, ethnicity or sexual orientation. This ethos has led to the creation of some of the world’s most admired brands — companies that have transformed the way in which the world lives, works, and communicates.

We are concerned about recent incidents of harassment in diverse communities that could lead to a brain drain of much needed talent. Rather than attract the best from throughout the world, we risk losing our edge. Whenever our employees and colleagues experience hostility and fear, we believe, as business leaders, we must support them, unconditionally.

There is a pragmatic reason for this support. Tech talent who are confident their government will guarantee their freedoms — and operate free of fear — are better enabled to create America’s future innovative products. Simply put, innovation in Tech thrives on trust and inclusiveness.

Source: Civil Liberties are Essential for Business and Prosperity

In an era of massive software driven change, the culture of public education should be compatible with the norms of agile teams and distributed collaboration. Self-organizing teams working in open by default, inclusive by default cultures build great things. This is the present and future of work. What we’ve learned over decades of iterating development culture for adult creatives applies also to students.

Our market is the world. Our audience is the world. Designing for the lived experiences of the full spectrum of human diversity requires working inclusively. Together, we will iterate our way through massive software-driven change. We will navigate disruption with compassion, finding opportunity and inspiration in the diversity of our shared humanity. We are humans making things for and with other humans, helping each other cope with sentience and senescence on our pale blue dot.

Inclusion is the new normal. Inclusion is the way to our boldly better future. Diversity is a fact of the modern world that is good for society and good for business.

See also,

Ryan Boren

Agile and Scrum in Education

Update: An updated version of this post is available on my main blog.

Scrum is an iterative and incremental agile software development framework for managing product development.

Source: Scrum (software development) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Agile software development describes a set of principles for software development under which requirements and solutions evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organizing cross-functional teams.

Source: Agile software development – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Getting started with scrum in a classroom requires only sticky notes and markers. Add masking tape if you want to tape off grids on the wall. With these you can make a scrum task board.

Scrum boards are sticky notes arranged on a grid. Tables are powerful, and masking tape is a cheap, portable table maker. You don’t have to stick with scrum to get value out of the notion of sticky notes advancing across a grid. The technique is handy and adaptable. Some DSISD teachers are a year-ish into experimenting with task boards, spinning the simple notion of marching sticky notes into custom classroom management tools inspired by methods widely used in tech.

This scene from Silicon Valley humorously conveys the gist of the scrum task board (NSFW, depending on your work, due to colorful language).

And this walks step-by-step through the process of making and using a masking tape and sticky note scrum task board.

The rhythms of a scrum board come across in this time lapse video.

Don’t get hung up on a particular implementation of scrum. The agile principles of self-organizing teams, agency, communication, and feedback loops are more important than a particular framework or variant. Start simple, be attuned to the culture of your teams, and iterate process. Some scrum cultures do one or even two hour daily standups (not my style). Other cultures do brief standups because standups are meetings, which have their morbidities. Distributed teams do their standups online, typically in a chat channel or group video hangout, using online rather than physical scrum boards. The synchronous nature of meetings aren’t a good fit for distributed teams spanning multiple time zones. Globally distributed teams thrive on and require asynchronous communication. Meetings are notoriously synchronous. There’s usually not one daily standup meeting that everyone attends in such environments. Distributed teams have their own communication cultures that adapt meetings to asynchronous collaboration. In a classroom, the synchronous nature of meetings isn’t a problem. You’re in the same room 5 days a week.

Culture is important. Scrum and agile do best in open by default, communication is oxygen cultures informed with some hacker ethos. In this 2 part video series, Spotify discusses their agile engineering culture and their history with scrum. I highly recommend this as a cultural and philosophical primer on agile and loosely coupled, tightly aligned autonomous teams.

Here are accompanying sketch notes.

The resources below offer the philosophy and principles of agile, scrum, and self-organizing teams. Some, such as the eduScrum guide, adapt scrum to classrooms.

Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

Source: Principles behind the Agile Manifesto

Modern agile methods are defined by four guiding principles:

  • Make people awesome
  • Make safety a prerequisite
  • Experiment and learn rapidly
  • Deliver value continuously

Source: Modern Agile

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Working software over comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Responding to change over following a plan

Source: Manifesto for Agile Software Development

An eduScrum Team consists of a teacher (Product Owner) and Student Teams of four students. One of the four students of a Team fills the role of (Student Team) eduScrum Master. Student Teams are self-organizing and multi-disciplinary. Self-organizing teams choose how best to accomplish their work, rather than being directed by others outside the team (e.g. teachers). Multi-disciplinary teams have all competencies needed to accomplish the work. The students form themselves into Student Teams based on skills and personal qualities. Although the team is responsible for its own results and is in that sense independent, they may use insights and information of other teams. Cross-team cooperation is encouraged. The team model in eduScrum is designed for optimal autonomy, collaboration, flexibility, creativity, motivation and productivity.

eduScrum Teams deliver learning results iteratively and incrementally, maximizing opportunities for feedback and adjustment. Incremental deliveries of “Done” learning results ensure that a potentially good result towards the learning goals is always achievable.

Student Teams have the following characteristics:

  1. They are self-organizing. Nobody (not even the Product Owner) tells the Student Team how they should realize the learning goals.
  2. They are multi-disciplinary, with all required skills and personal development themes to be able to achieve the learning goals together and can develop personally.
  3. Student Team members can have specific skills or focus areas, but the responsibility lies with the Student Team as a whole,
  4. The Student Team members may determine themselves if they want to contribute their qualities, or that they want to develop new areas.
  5. The Student Team tracks its own progress and quality level based on the acceptance criteria and the Definition of Done.

Source: The eduScrum Guide

To build 21st Century learning from the ground up, we look to see how companies like Google, Spotify, and GE build their innovative cultures. Their secret to innovation? Agile. Where focused teams unleash creativity, adapt through fast learning cycles, and iterate towards success. Agile Classrooms is a cross-pollination of Agile with modern learning and motivation research. With Agile Classrooms, 21st Century readiness is built in.

Agile Classrooms self-organizes its own learning, uses visual accountability structures, and are immersed in reflective feedback. It is a structured learning environment that restores the freedom to teach and learn. Where students reclaim responsibility for their own learning and teachers shift into facilitators and coaches.

Source: Agile Classrooms

The Scrum framework in 30 seconds

  • A product owner creates a prioritized wish list called a product backlog.
  • During sprint planning, the team pulls a small chunk from the top of that wish list, a sprint backlog, and decides how to implement those pieces.
  • The team has a certain amount of time — a sprint (usually two to four weeks) — to complete its work, but it meets each day to assess its progress (daily Scrum).
  • Along the way, the ScrumMaster keeps the team focused on its goal.
  • At the end of the sprint, the work should be potentially shippable: ready to hand to a customer, put on a store shelf, or show to a stakeholder.
  • The sprint ends with a sprint review and retrospective.
  • As the next sprint begins, the team chooses another chunk of the product backlog and begins working again.

Source: What is Scrum? An Agile Framework for Completing Complex Projects – Scrum Alliance

Scrum teams constantly respond to change so that the best possible outcome can be achieved. Scrum can be described as a framework of feedback loops, allowing the team to constantly inspect and adapt so the product delivers maximum value.

All work performed in Scrum needs a set of values as the foundation for the team’s processes and interactions. And by embracing these five values, the team makes them even more instrumental to its health and success.


Because we focus on only a few things at a time, we work well together and produce excellent work. We deliver valuable items sooner.


Because we work as a team, we feel supported and have more resources at our disposal. This gives us the courage to undertake greater challenges.


As we work together, we express how we’re doing, what’s in our way, and our concerns so they can be addressed.


Because we have great control over our own destiny, we are more committed to success.


As we work together, sharing successes and failures, we come to respect each other and to help each other become worthy of respect.

Source: Scrum Values | Agile Manifesto | Scrum Principles – Scrum Alliance

Cultural agility requires:

  • Collaboration alongside task commitment
  • Sharing learnings along with individual empowerment
  • Working with consensus toward a common goal via personal autonomy
  • Continuous improvement with failures but also repetitive success
  • Ensuring trust among team members through supportive leadership
  • Value delivery above functional work elements
  • Adherence to processes, but with flexibility and process tailoring

Each system is impacted by its environment continuously; change is constant. For an environment to be productive, it must support production. The essential purpose of any designed environment-in which a productive system operates-is to facilitate production regardless of change. By nurturing self-organization, this becomes possible. Only through self-organization can the means of productivity quickly react and adapt to change.

Tips to accommodate self-organization:

  • Focus on providing a non-autocratic leadership to encourage self-organization
  • Focus more on mentor and mentoree empowerment to encourage self-organization
  • Make sure that employees embrace change as an opportunity to innovate
  • See customers as team members and allow clients to add freely to backlogs
  • Empower digital agency teams to readily adapt to priority changes.

Source: Self-Organization Within Digital Agency Teams – Axelerant

Scrum is a feedback-driven empirical approach which is, like all empirical process control, underpinned by the three pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation.

Source: Scrum (software development) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Your Journey From…

Prescriptive → Iterative

Visible cycles of learning.

Making intentions explicit and visible fosters partnerships and allows for a meaningful and relevant education to emerge.

Content → Culture

Learning starts with why … it’s the big story.

The real lessons of life are embedded in experience.

Evaluation → Visible Feedback & Reflection

Nurturing the love of lifelong learning.

Partnering in a learning journey catalyzes continuous growth and ownership.

Control → Trust

Valuing the freedom of discovery.

Providing space for human diversity increases agency and self-direction.

Competition → Collaboration

The power of shared learning.

Sharing the individual perspective develops the social intelligence necessary for solving problems, communicating effectively, and deepening understanding.

Source: – Agile In Education

Takeaways for Educators

“Sprint” and daily “stand up” meetings allow a diverse team of software engineers – including members of the team who may be off site – to develop simple to complex products in relatively short periods of time. Their approach offers a model for educators when it comes to increasing team effectiveness, especially the following seven takeaways:

1. Share daily.

2. Own outcomes.

3. Expect obstacles.

4. Focus on the problem.

5. Prize feedback.

6. Keep learning.

7. Value Diversity.

Source: Cracking The Code To Teams: What Educators Can Learn From Programmers | EdSurge News

Yet many of today’s most valuable firms have come to realize that analyzing and improving individual workers ­— a practice known as ‘‘employee performance optimization’’ — isn’t enough. As commerce becomes increasingly global and complex, the bulk of modern work is more and more team-based. One study, published in The Harvard Business Review last month, found that ‘‘the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50 percent or more’’ over the last two decades and that, at many companies, more than three-quarters of an employee’s day is spent communicating with colleagues.

In Silicon Valley, software engineers are encouraged to work together, in part because studies show that groups tend to innovate faster, see mistakes more quickly and find better solutions to problems. Studies also show that people working in teams tend to achieve better results and report higher job satisfaction. In a 2015 study, executives said that profitability increases when workers are persuaded to collaborate more. Within companies and conglomerates, as well as in government agencies and schools, teams are now the fundamental unit of organization. If a company wants to outstrip its competitors, it needs to influence not only how people work but also how they work together.

As the researchers studied the groups, however, they noticed two behaviors that all the good teams generally shared. First, on the good teams, members spoke in roughly the same proportion, a phenomenon the researchers referred to as ‘‘equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking.’’ On some teams, everyone spoke during each task; on others, leadership shifted among teammates from assignment to assignment. But in each case, by the end of the day, everyone had spoken roughly the same amount. ‘‘As long as everyone got a chance to talk, the team did well,’’ Woolley said. ‘‘But if only one person or a small group spoke all the time, the collective intelligence declined.’’

Second, the good teams all had high ‘‘average social sensitivity’’ — a fancy way of saying they were skilled at intuiting how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues. One of the easiest ways to gauge social sensitivity is to show someone photos of people’s eyes and ask him or her to describe what the people are thinking or feeling — an exam known as the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test. People on the more successful teams in Woolley’s experiment scored above average on the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test. They seemed to know when someone was feeling upset or left out. People on the ineffective teams, in contrast, scored below average. They seemed, as a group, to have less sensitivity toward their colleagues.

In the best teams, members listen to one another and show sensitivity to feelings and needs.

Within psychology, researchers sometimes colloquially refer to traits like ‘‘conversational turn-taking’’ and ‘‘average social sensitivity’’ as aspects of what’s known as psychological safety — a group culture that the Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson defines as a ‘‘shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.’’

Psychological safety is ‘‘a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up,’’ Edmondson wrote in a study published in 1999. ‘‘It describes a team climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves.’’

The behaviors that create psychological safety — conversational turn-taking and empathy — are part of the same unwritten rules we often turn to, as individuals, when we need to establish a bond. And those human bonds matter as much at work as anywhere else. In fact, they sometimes matter more.

For Project Aristotle, research on psychological safety pointed to particular norms that are vital to success. There were other behaviors that seemed important as well — like making sure teams had clear goals and creating a culture of dependability. But Google’s data indicated that psychological safety, more than anything else, was critical to making a team work.

Google, in other words, in its race to build the perfect team, has perhaps unintentionally demonstrated the usefulness of imperfection and done what Silicon Valley does best: figure out how to create psychological safety faster, better and in more productive ways.

Source: What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team – The New York Times

We’re doing something that works quite well: We rely on cooperation. People talk a lot about Collaborative Economics nowadays. Well, here at 42, we chose Collaborative Education. What does it means? It means putting people together and making them learn together. The knowledge, you can acquire it from the internet. You can type anything into Google, and there’s your answer. So lessons are useless, you’ll find the best lectures in the world on the internet, if you want to learn. But we do not wish to make them learn stuff by heart, we want to teach them how to develop, work, and live together, to build projects together and to make them happen. That’s what we want to teach them.

Adapting, working in groups, are those, in the end, the two necessary elements required to work in the digital world in general?

Source: Xavier Niel explains 42: the coding university without teachers, books, or tuition | VentureBeat | Entrepreneur | by Arthur Scheuer,

Adapting, working in groups, are those, in the end, the two necessary elements required to work in the digital world in general?

Source: Xavier Niel explains 42: the coding university without teachers, books, or tuition | VentureBeat | Entrepreneur | by Arthur Scheuer,